I figure if I want to find books that can lead to social change, a list of banned books is a good place to start. What better way to honor a book that could open minds and encourage deep thought than to ban it, right? I guess if I believe that writing can create change, then I must understand why people who want things to stay static would be afraid to let people choose what they read. A book like And Tango Makes Three, for instance, could introduce the radical notion that gay parents are people, too (or gay penguins are penguins, at least) to our youngest, most open-minded members of society. And just imagine a world where folks have all grown up reading about loving people for who they are. The tolerance is terrifying.
Of course, I can't help but dream of the day when my name appears on a banned books list. Well, I'm mostly kidding about that. I mostly hope that someday there will be no such thing as a banned books list, since stripping away our freedom to read and think for ourselves is just ridiculous. But I suppose that, for as long as there are people in the world self-righteous enough to try to police our libraries, I can be thankful and recognize that at least there is literature that is powerful enough for people to fear its influence. Looking at some of the titles of books that people have tried to ban, I can only imagine what people who challenge these books would think of some of what I've written. I don't think I could ever be as influential as somebody like Toni Morrison or J.D. Salinger, but I can definitely appreciate the road they've paved, and the folks who've fought for our right to read their work.
So go out and celebrate your freedom to read this week, by picking up your favorite explicit, radical, or...brightly illustrated banned book.